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Making Ends Meet-Surviving Financial Struggles (Part 1)

Updated on January 10, 2014

Living while scraping by

When I was thirty-seven, I lost my job and had no income to fall back on. I was forced to scramble to make ends meet. I ended up borrowing, using credit cards, and working odd jobs just to keep a roof over my head, but after I worked my way through that trial, I realized I'd discovered something in the process-how to live well without paying through the nose for it.To this day, I still utilize the tips I'm going to share with you now.

How to pinch the pennies

1. Choose something you'd like to buy but can't afford it. It must be less than $100.00. Make it your goal to buy that item within a set amount of time. To do that, always round up in your checking account. So if you spend $1.03, round it up to $2.00. Keep a running log (I use an Excel spreadsheet) of the extra change, and every month, I transfer that into a savings account. It won't take you as long as you think to save enough money to buy it.

Why am I talking to you about buying something when you're struggling? Because it's important to reward yourself or to have something to look forward to while you're in the midst of money troubles, and the above tip is a simple way to do it.

2. Always shop at a grocery store that doubles coupons. This will only work if you use coupons, and believe me, when you're struggling financially, you should be using coupons.

3. Every other month, review your checking account statement to make sure you've not been charged any extra fees or charges you didn't authorize are showing up. Make sure you're with a bank that doesn't charge checking account fees, online banking fees, etc.

4. Set up all of your bills to draft out automatically so you won't have to worry about potential late fees. If you're not sure whether or not you're going to be able to pay all of your bills, then it would be best to use your online banking system. You save the postage and can schedule the payment when you know you'll have the money.

Find some free or easy money

5. Every day there are hundreds of thousands of contests that offer gift cards, free products, trial memberships, and more. So spend an hour or so a day entering, especially the ones where you don't see a lot of entries. They are out there. Don't believe me? Look up author giveaways. Authors are always giving away gift cards and the like.

6. Participate in the surveys that pay. Yes, there are some decent ones out there that aren't scams. They may not pay much, but $15 is better than nothing when you're without a job.

7. Capitalize on your talent. Like to take photographs? Try uploading them to places like Stockphoto, Fotolia, and Shutterstock to earn money whenever someone downloads a copy. Are you a writer? Then start entering those no-entry fee contests that offer monetary prizes. The opportunities are limitless, and we all have a talent.

Stop the panic!

This part is easier said than done, but it won't do you any good to let the anxiety cripple you. You can try breathing deeply and yoga (which are both good things), but right now, you need a way to yank yourself out of the sense of impending doom. One quick way to do that is a goal chart.

Get you a sheet a paper. Write out two, three, five, or ten goals a day, whatever amount you think you can accomplish. You can write it fresh every morning or in the evening. They can be small goals or medium-sized ones. It doesn't matter. Just make sure you can accomplish them that day.

When you start to panic, look at your goal sheets. See what you've accomplished and know you're not helpless. You're staying focused, and you're doing what it takes to keep the money coming in.


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